Leaving Octopus early at 11am means I get to Mantaray at a decent time to make the most of the whole day. Feeling very chilled after a nice morning at the Octopus and a great breakfast of yogurt muesli and danishes. The boat is packed for Mantaray so think it is one of the more popular ones for sure as about 30 of us. As we arrive the staff are singing to us a welcome song and we are asked to shout Bula really loudly when they finish. The staff here are very friendly. The dorm is not bad considering it is for 30 people and everyone on the boat pretty much is in the dorm.
After dumping our stuff off its time for lunch and how it works here is you choose from about 10options all very good and one of the better meal plans especially for me as it is included but if not costs $109 (£45). For fish lovers there is a good selection. For lunch I join the two guys who were running the habitat volunteer group who are staying here in much more luxury accommodation than me as both seem very well off.
After lunch I book my dive for next day and so that is exciting. I also need to do some washing, but more expensive than expected as per item and underwear even $2, so just handwash some bits and the rest can wait til I get to LA as only a few days away. Rest of afternoon is spent chilling in a hammock and enjoying the sun. The tide is far out and when it is out you are not allowed to swim as you will damage the coral walking out. Plus it isn’t very refreshing as shallow so warm.
I get chatting to a German architect as saw him coming back from a dive earlier so was asking questions. Once the sun goes from the beach about 4.30pm he shows me the other Beach that gets the sunset and is really nice place to chill out. Prepared with a Fiji gold he goes and gets me one which is nice to have for the sunset. About 20mins of being there a big group turn up who have the same idea as us. They have just come back from a free guided kayaking tour. It’s good they offer that and had I known I might have been keen as they visited Barefoot Manta resort and was keen too see it considering I wasn’t able to stay there as it was fully booked.
With the group there it is a good atmosphere and get to meet some new people a girl called Jess, who I actually met in Auckland as she checked me into Nomads hostels there, which is funny and it took awhile for us both to click how we knew each other. Also met Irish guys called Chris who is living in Vancouver at the moment, Llinos from Sweden and Nev a kiwi ex stray bus driver who is great to chat to as seems to be the fountain of all travel knowledge. It’s such a chilled vibe on the beach and even a local hermit crab wants to join in the fun and take in the sunset.
Once the sun is down we head to get changed and ready for dinner, which is a nice pork chop and potato meal that everyone seems to like. After dinner the staff put on a show for us about the local village and being a warrior there. They do some really cool Fijian dancing and act like they are warriors being fierce in everyone’s face and branding weapons about. When it comes to the girls they sing and do some crazy Beyonce style twerking dancing. All Fijians seem to be able to sing and dance and it’s a really good show and nice to see the traditional outfits too. To end the show they get everyone up to do some dancing and what they call the snake – essentially the congo and with about 50 people taking part it is fun having to do different movements as we all go round like shake the hands, touch your bum or hop.
Once the entertainment ends no one really stays out for long and it ends up just being Chris the Irish guy and a couple I met at dinner who are really nice Hannah and Charlie, who live in the same town as Kiwi bus Chris so a small world. It’s a usual chilled night in Fiji, which is nice.
24th May 2016